Is it natural to use take in the sense of borrowing something. For example:

Can I take your phone?

If it fine, than is it more common to use take instead of borrow?

  • The only thing unusual about the sentence in the question is the use of you instead of your. Dec 21, 2019 at 17:48

3 Answers 3


I think for borrowing (with permission from the owner) it is more common to use borrow.

Take refers more to taking the object permanently (without permission from the owner).

That doesn't mean that take can never be used when it's intended to return the borrowed object.


Can I take your car to work?

Here it's fine to use take, since it's a temporary action (you don't take the car permanently, but only for a given amount of time).


Can I take your phone.

In the right context, this could mean "borrow", but that does not mean the words are always interchangeable.

"Take" could mean taking something permanently. It could also mean taking something along on a specific trip or journey. For example, if I asked my daughter to go to the shops and she asked "can I take your phone" it would be clear that she was taking the phone to the shops and that she would return with it; but if a bailiff "took" your phone it would be understood you weren't getting it back.

If the request was unprompted then the asker would almost certainly use "borrow" to establish what they wanted.

  • 1
    Uh... my understanding is that a bailiff should return your personal belongings when you leave jail, unless it’s evidence or something (and even then, you should get the phone back eventually unless somehow the forensic needs of the case require doing something to it that destroys the phone).
    – KRyan
    Dec 17, 2019 at 18:45
  • 2
    @KRyan in England and Wales, bailiffs are court officers who recover property or seize it to satisfy a debt: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailiff#England_and_Wales
    – LMS
    Dec 17, 2019 at 20:21

It is uncommon to use take to indicate you are going to borrow something.

Take is the act of gaining posession of something and can include taking something permanently or taking something without permission.

While take can be use to describe the part of borrowing where you gain posession of the item, it would be less clear that it will be returned.

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